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Since 2010, the number of organisations recognised as What Works Centres has risen more than tenfold and there are currently six centres whose work focuses exclusively, or mainly, on helping young people. In this paper, Dr Michael Sanders, Chief Executive of What Works for Children’s Social Care, and Jonathan Slater, former Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, make the case that more collaboration between these centres is possible, and that it would be seriously beneficial. In particular, they believe that the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people highlights the importance of such collaboration and demands a determined approach to realising its benefits.
This paper explains the history of the What Works movement and its particular structure in the UK, considers the advantages and disadvantages of greater integration and collaboration between centres, and concludes with some recommendations for how centres could work together in a minimally effortful way.